A Nobel Prize winner. A Hollywood producer. Journalists who investigate and explain. A children’s author, a novelist. And a Yale professor who has been an expert on Alexander Hamilton since long before the musical.
These are some of the alumni who have told their stories during the latest season of Sagecast, the podcast of Pomona College.
Below, find a sampling of episodes with links available to the full audio recordings as well as the transcripts.
Jennifer Doudna ’85
Doudna shared this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Emmanuelle Charpentier for the development of the CRISPR/Cas9 technique that makes genome editing possible. In this podcast, she relates the journey that led to a discovery that revolutionizes fields such as biomedicine and agriculture—and her efforts to ensure that the technology is used ethically and equitably.
Aditya Sood ’97
Sood parlayed a chance encounter in Honnold Library into a successful Hollywood career, producing movies such as The Martian, Murder on the Orient Express and Deadpool. Now the president of the production company Lord Miller, Inc., he takes Sagecast listeners behind the scenes in the film business.
Anjali Kamat ’00
Kamat is an award-winning investigative journalist whose reporting has covered topics ranging from Wall Street to the Arab uprisings. In this podcast she shares the backstory on being part of “the first draft of history” and what goes into creating stories that will make people care, understand and, hopefully, “be a little upset.”
Joe Palca ’74
Palca, a longtime NPR science reporter, sees his job as not only introducing listeners to new discoveries, but also making challenging topics understandable and piquing people’s interest to learn more about them. He shares how he chooses stories and what has amazed him over the course of a 28-year NPR career.
Mac Barnett ’04
Barnett has turned the inspiration of his childhood picture books into a prolific career as the author of 47 children’s books. They have sold over 2 million copies in more than 30 languages—so far. In this Sagecast, he talks about the big questions kids ask, the way they are open to seeing the world in new ways, and the kinds of stories he likes—experimental, weird, and “that ask the reader to do work.”
Douglas Preston ’78
Preston found a richness of material to write about in his first job at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where his office was next to the mummy storage room. He regales listeners with the story of how that entry-level position morphed into a career as a novelist with more than 20 books to date, most of which have landed on The New York Times Best Seller list.
Joanne Freeman ’84
How do you get Lin-Manuel Miranda to come to your birthday party? You become, as did Freeman, a foremost scholar on Alexander Hamilton. Freeman tells how she loves the musical and considers it a doorway to history for students today.